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silver-white metallic element, 1818, with element ending -ium + lithia, Modern Latin name given by Swedish chemist Jöns Jacob Berzelius (1779-1848) to the earth from which it was extracted, from Greek lithos "stone" (see litho-). So called from its mineral origin and to distinguish it from two previously known alkalis of vegetable origin.
lithium lith·i·um (lĭth'ē-əm)
A soft, highly reactive metallic element. Atomic number 3; atomic weight 6.941; melting point 180°C; boiling point 1,342°C; specific gravity 0.534; valence 1.
A soft, silvery metallic element of the alkali group that occurs in small amounts in some minerals. It is the lightest of all metals and is highly reactive. Lithium is used to make alloys, batteries, glass for large telescopes, and ceramics. Atomic number 3; atomic weight 6.941; melting point 179°C; boiling point 1,317°C; specific gravity 0.534; valence 1. See Periodic Table.